Immigration: UNHCR,81 have died in the Mediterranean in 2012

Victims of latest tragedy near Malta also fleeing from Libya

08 May, 19:17

(ANSAmed) - GENEVA, MAY 8 - Since the start of the year, 81 ''boat people'' fleeing from Libya have died in the Mediterranean Sea according to the most recent figures released by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). After the most recent tragedy at sea, which saw seven Somali refugees lose their lives before their boat reached the coast of Malta on Saturday, the number of people who have died or who are listed as missing at sea during the exodus from Libya to Europe has risen this year to 81, ''equivalent to 2 people every three days on average'', said UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards today in Geneva. The spokesman reported the accounts of the 90 survivors of the journey who arrived on Malta in a fatigued state on Saturday.

According to survivor accounts, five men and two women died during the trip, said Edwards. This is the fourth immigrant boat to land on Malta since the start of the year, bringing the total number of people who have arrived on the island to 210. During the same period, 45 boats arrived on Italian shores. Around 2,200 people have arrived in total. The UNHCR estimates that about 1,500 people died during their attempt to arrive to Europe by sea from North Africa last year. (ANSAmed).

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